Wednesday 08 December 2021

Teaching hospital staff strike, non-essential operations cancelled

A nurse and patient touch hands in a hospital.Hundreds of operations have been cancelled at the Netherlands’ eight academic hospitals on Tuesday as medical staff again go on strike in support of more pay and better working conditions.

The Radboud University hospital in Nijmegen was not part of the first day of industrial action but is now supporting the campaign, broadcaster NOS said.

The impact of the industrial action differs per hospital, NOS said, with the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam stating that 75% of planned operations had been cancelled at the 10 units affected by the strike.

In Maastricht, all 78 hospital units are taking part. ‘The impact on patient safety is so great that we have decided to implement a Sunday roster,’ a spokesman for the hospital authority said.

In total, 279 units nationwide are affected.

The Netherlands’ eight teaching hospitals or UMCs have a combined workforce of 80,000 and have their own pay and conditions agreement.

Employers have offered a one-off payment of 3.5% of annual salary in January for all staff and a pay rise of 3.5% from August next year for nursing and other mid level staff earning €3,200 to €4,200 a month. Their pay, the hospitals say, has lagged behind in recent years.

People on the lower pay scales have been offered a 1% rise.

The FNV calculates that more than 70,000 UMC workers will not be eligible for the 3.5% increase.

Bonus

Meanwhile, the health ministry said on Monday that more than one million healthcare workers would be eligible for a one-off bonus of €384.71 net this year.

The bonus, which is higher than had been expected, is meant to thank staff for their input during the coronavirus pandemic.

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